Jigs – helpful tools

On a recent dog walk I noticed a strip of paper with the words “Lettering and Centering Ruler” caught up on a tree branch.  It was a jig for centering headlines for a poster up to 30 inches wide. The subtitle read, “Relax! It’s not as hard as you think.”

The exact origin of the word ‘jig’ is unknown.  It is thought to have come from the French giguer, “to dance” and to most it means a lively dance in triple time.  In the hand of a crafts person however, a jig is a device or template used to hold work in place or, for guiding a tool. Calligraphers and bookbinders make and use jigs for any number of book making activities. Using a jig or a premeasured template is easier, quicker, and more precise than measuring and marking each time with a ruler, especially when doing repetitive activities. Below are a few examples of the types of jigs I use in assembling a manuscript book.

This layout jig is made of mat board. The frame has been cut to a specified page layout for a book.  I simply place the frame on the recto and trace around the inside of the frame with a pencil and then flip to the verso and repeat.  This marks off the page margins and encloses the page area for lettering and painting.

Lettering jigs are placed on either side of a page and the writing lines are ruled in where marked.

A 2-ply board jig is used to emboss and de-boss curvilinear lines and creates a fluid form on handmade paper.

A punching jig identifies where to punch sewing holes on the inside of each gathering of papers.  Place the notch at the head of each signature for punching to insure that the sewing holes will line up on the spine.

Thank you for reading this blog entry. I look forward to hearing from you.

Nancy Leavitt    website www.nancyleavitt.com

My bookdealer’s website www.juvelisbooks.com

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One Response to Jigs – helpful tools

  1. Finding a jig for centering lettering on a poster in a tree? What a singular event! I love the idea of using a jig and then losing it in a tree. Years ago a friend found a fresh turkey in a box on the freeway. She took it home, roasted it, and served it to her mother-in-law. She said it was delicious. Very tender. I think people should lose interesting things more often.

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